Last time, we went through the profiles of two players, how they took center stage at the junior stages and how they were tipped to deliver at the senior stages but now, they are somewhere in the world delivering below what was expected of them. This week, we would take you through the journey of two other players who made Nigerians marvel at the 2009 U-17 FIFA World Cup but have been unable to deliver so much.
The 27-year old right winger was part of the squad that represented Nigeria at the 2009 U-17 world cup that was hosted in Nigeria. He was well known for his amazing dribbling skills at the tournament, and that earned him a local nickname, the “The Little Messi” at the tournament. In that year’s competition, he scored 3 goals in seven appearances for Nigeria. In April 2010, he signed a four year contract with Spanish side, UD Almeria, where he was initially assigned to the juvenile squad and was promoted to the reserves the following year. He made a total of 50 appearances scoring 8 goals. In 2013, He joined Bulgarian side Cherno More Varno on a season long loan deal where he played his first match as a professional, scoring 2 goals in 19 appearances. In 2014, He returned to Almeria where he was promoted to the first team but was demoted to the B-side three months later and then he joined another Spanish team CD Badajoz on a free transfer. Stanley Okoro returned home in 2016 after he was released by his Spanish club. He joined Abia warriors FC in 2016 and then moved to Plateau United FC in May 2017 but was released four months later. He was called up to the National team once, and that was in 2010 for a 2012 African Cup of Nations qualification match against Madagascar. He made his debut, coming on as a substitute for Michael Eneramo in the game which ended 2-0 in favor of Nigeria.
He played alongside Stanley Okoro in that year’s FIFA U-17 world cup in Nigeria. He was a perfect goal scorer. He came in as a substitute throughout the tournament except in the final game, and he scored in almost every match and this earned him the nickname “The SuperSub”. However he didn’t score in the final which Nigeria lost to Switzerland and Nigerians blamed the coach for starting him in the match as they believed he only scores whenever he is brought into the game. Emmanuel went home with two awards at the end of the tournament, the Golden ball for his outstanding performance, and the silver ball for being the second player out of three to score five goals in that tournament. He also represented Nigeria at the FIFA U-20 world cup in Colombia in 2011 where he made two appearances. In 2010, he joined Swedish club Bodens BK and a year after, he signed for Italian side Lazio and was promoted to the first team in 2013. However, he spent his final two years at Lazio on loan to second tier club Salernitana where he made only one appearance and Swiss club FC Biel-Bienne where he made 10 appearances, scoring five goals in 2012 and 2013 respectively. He then played for Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem and Swedish club Oskarshamns AIK. Unfortunately, Sanni Emmanuel had to quit the round leather game in 2019 after battling Achilles tendonitis for a few months.